Tom worked at a toy factory. His station was the form rubber pressing machine. His job consisted of two things.
First, he pushed a button which lowered a pneumatic piston. The piston pressed a rubber clown into shape. This took three seconds.
Next, he removed the rubber clown from the metal cradle and placed it on a table to the right. He had four seconds to do this.
When he was finished with 50 clowns, a conveyor machine whisked the table away and replaced it with a fresh one. It was in this way that Tom’s work day was divided into seven second chunks.
Yesterday at 21 seconds past 10 AM Tom dropped a clown. It landed on the floor directly between the pressing machine and the clown table. Because the machines never stopped, Tom did not have enough time to reach down, to grab the clown, and to place it on the table. Instead, 49 clowns later, the conveyor machine took the table away, one clown short.
For the rest of the day the clown on the floor stared up at Tom. Due to the rushing movement of the departing table there was a slight recurring breeze which caused the clown to rock back and forth every seven seconds. Sort of like the clown was shaking his head at Tom.
Zaqary Fekete has worked as a teacher in Moldova, Romania, China, and Cambodia. They currently live and work in Minnesota.